Reviews & more
May 4, 2018 by Lydia Syson
As noted in the book, the most important sources for Mr Peacock’s Possessions were:
Elsie K Morton Crusoes of Sunday Island, 1957.
Steven Gentry, Raoul & the Kermadecs: New Zealand’s Northernmost Islands, Steele Roberts, 2013.
Margaret Pointer, Niue 1774-1974: 200 years of contact and change, Otago University Press, 2015.
Category Reviews & more | Tags: Bibliography, blackbirding, island fiction, Kermadecs, Lydia Syson, Missionaries, Mr Peacock's Possessions, Native Teachers, Niue, Pacific Slave Trade, Raoul Island, sources
May 19, 2015 by Lydia Syson
‘remarkable…a novel of extraordinary resonance and power…Both as a gripping narrative which defines the meaning of ‘page-turner’ perfectly and also the bringing to life of a historical event of crucial importance…Liberty’s Fire works superbly.’ Armadillo
A Telegraph ‘best YA book of 2015′: ‘Lydia Syson does another fine job of bringing to life sometimes neglected periods of the past. . .the detail is great. . .’ Martin Chilton, Culture Editor online
‘a brilliant milieu for such a story, at a time and place that feel familiar – through stories of the French Revolution and Les Misérables – but which are both distinct and novel. Political ideas and agency are broached; themes of personal, class and gender liberation are all developed in an incident-packed plot. The main protagonists are faced with decisions of moral ambivalence relevant today…an unusual mixture of hard-hitting story-telling and subtle discourse on adolescence – and on the courage needed to face an uncertain world. Highly recommended.’ Historical Novels Review
‘Syson brings this pivotal episode of 19th-century history glowingly alive…a great read for young people – and adults for that matter – irrespective of gender.’ Morning Star
April 18, 2015 by Lydia Syson
Please follow links for full reviews (where available):
Linda Newbery wrote in Armadillo (Editor’s Choice):
‘Lydia Syson is the kind of writer who lets you know from the outset that you’re in safe hands…Like my last Editor’s Choice, Elizabeth Wein’s Rose Under Fire, this is an unusual angle on the Second World War and a excellent addition to the range of fiction available for teenagers.’
Nicholas Tucker in The Independent (‘Best Books of 2013′) wrote:
‘…the final resolution lives up to this story’s consistent excellence. This is only the second novel from an author very much to look out for.’
Suzi Feay in the Financial Times wrote:
‘During the Battle of Britain, fighters zigzagged across the wide skies above Romney Marsh in Kent and planes that crashed were engulfed almost immediately, along with their pilots. When Henryk, a Polish pilot, bails out over the marshes he is discovered by teenage Peggy, who is immediately drawn to him. Terrified of having to return to his flying duties, he hides with her help.
That Burning Summer is Lydia Syson’s second novel and her great strength is characterisation. Peggy’s mean aunt and shrewd but kindly uncle, her ebullient cousin and most of all her pesky but lovable 11-year-old brother Ernest are vividly drawn. Ernest is obsessed with government instructions about how to spot spies. Add to the mix a local bully, spiteful anonymous letters and the ready availability of guns, and the scene seems set for inevitable tragedy.
A touching evocation of a desperate wartime romance, which evokes a vanished era of hardship and fortitude.’
We Love This Book wrote:
‘Unearthing aspects of the Second World War that teenagers are unlikely to cover in schools, a wealth of history is entwined with the story of one family and a seemingly impossible romance…That Burning Summer is a refreshingly different war story, focussing as it does on the rarely mentioned Polish allies who joined the war effort, fighting for Britain as they were unable to help from occupied Poland. Henryk’s slowly revealed past is fascinating, as is the exploration of pacifism at home and the effects of the aerial dogfights on pilots. But it is Syson’s beautifully developed characters that make the history come vividly to life.’
April 17, 2015 by Lydia Syson
“Syson’s enthralling book offers a new portrait of Graham as an authentic innovator… [An] admirable and engaging book.” - The Guardian
“I was entranced by Lydia Syson’s superb volume…Syson combines a sure grasp of intellectual history with enough awareness of just how much fun her story is. More than that, it shows how the failures and eccentrics of history are often the most intriguing subjects.” - Scotland on Sunday
“Syson pins the iconoclastic Graham like a butterfly on the wider canvas of a lively social history.” - The Times
“Lydia Syson investigates the life of this most progressive of quacks in an engaging dash around the credulous and curious world of Enlightenment medicine…This meticulous reconstruction of his journey from obscure apothecary to London society darling is a vibrant portrait of a surprisingly modern world… Her discussion of Graham’s methods and influences is exhaustive and often illuminating… Doctor of Love is revealing and funny about early attempts to make a science of sex.” - Times Literary Supplement keep reading
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March 2, 2015 by Lydia Syson
‘What is the Commune, that sphinx so tantalizing to the bourgeois mind?’ (Marx:The Civil War in France)
Simply put, the Paris Commune was the radical municipal government elected to run the French capital in March 1871, immediately after the Franco-Prussian War and the Siege of Paris – not to be confused with the first French Revolution in 1789, or the July Revolution of 1830, or indeed the small uprising of 1832 featured in Les Miserables, or even the 1848 revolution which brought in the short-lived Second Republic. It lasted for 72 days, and historians have been debating exactly how to define it ever since.
Category Reviews & more | Tags: 1871, Books about Paris Commune, Citoyennes, Communardes, Communards, Franco-Prussian War, further reading, Liberty's Fire, Lissagaray, Louise Michel, Paris Commune, Paris Commune bibliography, photography, reading list, Revolution, Siege of Paris, Vallès, Women
March 1, 2015 by Lydia Syson
Interested in exploring any of the history, ideas or places in That Burning Summer? Here are some good starting points – keep reading
March 1, 2015 by Lydia Syson
Here I’ve listed some of the books that influenced me most keep reading
April 12, 2014 by Lydia Syson
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April 11, 2013 by Lydia Syson